Bud Light sales decline is ‘staggering’ according to beer industry research firms

AB-InBev, the corporate parent of Bud Light, is silent on the subject, but according to outside industry researchers, Bud Light’s sales collapse is “staggering” in the wake of protest over its engagement of Dylan Mulvaney as an “internet influencer.” Lisa Fickenscher writes in the New York Post:

Bud Light has suffered a “staggering” sales hit following the beer brand’s controversial marketing tie-up with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney — with the latest data showing an alarming 17% drop, according to an industry research firm.

The latest sales data from NielsenIQ and Bump Williams Consulting shows that Bud Light sales fell 17% in dollars, while volume dropped a whopping 21% in the week ended April 15.

That’s sharply ahead of the 6% drop in sales dollars and 11% drop in volume that Bud Light had suffered during the week ended April 8 — the seven days that immediately followed the April 1 launch of the controversial Mulvaney campaign on social media.

The story confusingly fails to explain if the drops are cumulative. In other words, is the volume decline of 21% for the week of April 15 a further decline from 11% decline the week before? Data reported later in the piece shows an even more brutal decline, suggesting the damage is cumulative:

Bud Light’s volume declined by 34.7% at bars, restaurants and other venues between April 2 and April 15, according to BeerBoard. Bud Light dropped to the No. 4 draft beer from No. 3 during the second week of the controversy, switching places with Coors Light, Brewbound reported on Monday.

Bud Light had long been the number one beer brand in the USA prior to the Mulvaney massacre. Very, very few instances (other than product poisoning incidents) see a market-leading brand lose over a third of its sales volume and go from first to fourth place in market share.

Almost as telling is the success that pre-Mulvaney Bd Light was enjoying:

During the NCAA basketball tournament from March 18 to April 1, it was the clear leader of all light beers at bars and other venues, up 15%, according to Brewbound, a trade publication which cited data from BeerBoard. But after the Mulvaney campaign launched, demand for Bud Light trailed other light beers by 6% at bars and restaurants. 

The dimensions of this disaster are still emerging. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at a meeting that reportedly is being held today:

Anheuser-Busch distributors are meeting with the company in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.

Distributors are the ones whose personnel make deliveries to taverns and retailers, and I suspect they are bringing stories to the attention of AB-InBev that are, shall we say, colorful. They may well make the point that other brands, in particular the flagship original Budweiser (‘the king of beers”), are suffering by association.

I am pretty sure that many distributors are calling for the company to be more emphatic in apologizing and repudiating its past actions embracing Mulvaney. But is the company willing to incur the wrath of the vicious trans movement?

The story has more chapters yet to be written. This is the most impactful reaction to the sudden rise of trans activism yet seen.

Photo credit: Dylan Mulvaney/Instagram via the New York Post

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